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Monday, 2nd December 2013
In General Japan News,

Japanese cuisine poised for UNESCO list

Traditional Japanese food preparation methods and the culture that makes the cuisine so unique could be added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list later this week, the organisation has confirmed.

With UNESCO set to hold its annual meeting in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, it has been announced that favourites such as sushi and sashimi are up for consideration as important examples of regional traditions and customs around the world.

The debate kicks off today (December 2nd), although with 31 candidates to compete with, it is anyone's guess as to whether washoku - Japanese cuisine - will be included on the final list.

Kimchi, South Korea's tradition of spicy pickled vegetables for consumption during the colder months of the year, is one of the other contenders.

The Japanese staple sushi has become popular around the world, although it is far from being the only essential eating in a Japanese diet and is even used as an umbrella term in many Western cultures for other types of Asian cuisine.

In reality, the only ingredient that all sushi has in common is vinegared rice, often served in bite-sized portions with raw fish or vegetables.

Far from being in danger of abandonment, it has recently been reported that such cookery methods are coming back into fashion, with the primary reason being the health benefits over Western cuisine.

According to a recent poll from the Jiji Press, 46 per cent of women in Japan are cooking traditional meals more frequently than ten years ago, while just six per cent are doing so less frequently.

The majority of those polled (72 per cent) said they were doing so for health reasons.

Whether UNESCO decides to add Japanese to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list or not, be sure to sample a wide variety of dishes on your trip to Japan.

Written by Graham McPherson


Related news stories:
Japan hopes to add Fukuoka ancient monuments to UNESCO list (29th July 2015)
UNESCO supports heritage listing for Tokyo museum building (18th May 2016)
Japanese industrial sites added to UNESCO list (6th July 2015)
Japanese alps get UNESCO recognition (12th June 2014)